He has written again-- and then again--not with confidence, but humbly, now, and has begged for defensive ammunition in the voice of supplication. A reply does at last come--to this effect: 'We must have faith in Our Mother, and rest content in the conviction that whatever She[3] does with the money it is in accordance with orders from Heaven, for She does no act of any kind without first "demonstrating over" it.'

That settles it--as far as the disciple is concerned. His Mind is entirely satisfied with that answer; he gets down his Annex and does an incantation or two, and that mesmerises his spirit and puts that to sleep--brings it peace. Peace and comfort and joy, until some inquirer punctures the old sore again.

Through friends in America I asked some questions, and in some cases got definite and informing answers; in other cases the answers were not definite and not valuable. From the definite answers I gather than the 'capitation-tax' is compulsory, and that the sum is one dollar. To the question, 'Does any of the money go to charities?' the answer from an authoritative source was: 'No, *not in the sense usually conveyed by this word*.' (The italics are mine.) That answer is cautious. But definite, I think--utterly and unassailably definite--although quite Christian-scientifically foggy in its phrasing. Christian Science is generally foggy, generally diffuse, generally garrulous. The writer was aware that the first word in his phrase answered the question which I was asking, but he could not help adding nine dark words. Meaningless ones, unless explained by him. It is quite likely--as intimated by him--that Christian Science has invented a new class of objects to apply the word charity to, but without an explanation we cannot know what they are. We quite easily and naturally and confidently guess that they are in all cases objects which will return five hundred per cent. on the Trust's investment in them, but guessing is not knowledge; it is merely, in this case, a sort of nine-tenths certainty deducible from what we think we know of the Trust's trade principles and its sly and furtive and shifty ways.

Sly? Deep? Judicious? The Trust understands business. The Trust does not give itself away. It defeats all the attempts of us impertinents to get at its trade secrets. To this day, after all our diligence, we have not been able to get it to confess what it does with the money. It does not even let its own disciples find out. All it says is, that the matter has been 'demonstrated over.' Now and then a lay Scientist says, with a grateful exultation, that Mrs. Eddy is enormously rich, but he stops there; as to whether any of the money goes to other charities or not, he is obliged to admit that he does not know. However, the Trust is composed of human beings; and this justifies the conjecture that if it had a charity on its list which it did not need to blush for, we should soon hear of it.

'Without money and without price.' Those used to be the terms. Mrs. Eddy's Annex cancels them. The motto of Christian Science is 'The labourer is worthy of his hire.' And now that it has been 'demonstrated over,' we find its spiritual meaning to be, 'Do anything and everything your hand may find to do; and charge cash for it, and collect the money in advance.' The Scientist has on his tongue's end a cut-and-dried, Boston-supplied set of rather lean arguments whose function is to show that it is a Heaven-commanded duty to do this, and that the croupiers of the game have no choice by to obey.

The Trust seems to be a reincarnation. Exodus xxxii.4.

I have no reverence for Mrs. Eddy and the rest of the Trust--if there is a rest--but I am not lacking in reverence for the sincerities of the lay membership of the new Church. There is every evidence that the lay members are entirely sincere in their faith, and I think sincerity is always entitled to honour and respect, let the inspiration of the sincerity be what it may. Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword, and I believe that the new religion will conquer the half of Christendom in a hundred years.

The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and other Stories Page 57

Mark Twain

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